Who needs Premier League football when you’ve got the Nations League, eh?
What’s that? What do you mean nobody likes it?! But… England have the chance to be beaten by, or play out dull draws against, such prestigious opposition!
Well, fine. Whether you like it or not, the Nations League is back, and it’s here to stay (for this iteration, at least).
UEFA will surely have been rubbing their hands with glee as England played out the boring-est of bore draws against Croatia on Friday night. The only good news is that this match wasn’t inflicted on any supporters in the flesh.
In my opening explanation of the Nations League, I said the whole thing could go one of two ways. Either it would transform international football and make it more exciting; or it would be an enormous comedown after the giddy highs of the World Cup. For semi-final rivals Croatia and England, it’s certainly been the latter.
Anyway, now England get to bounce back against…
Oh, they’re playing Spain.
We might not enjoy watching our Three Lions get mauled, but at least we can make some money off it. Behold my Spain vs England betting tips.
Spain vs England – Match Information
- Date – Monday October 15th
- Time – 7:45pm
- Venue – Estadio Benito Villamarín, Sevilla
Spain have been rather good recently. Who’d have thought that pairing a top-level coach with a world-class squad could produce such results?
(And yes, I’m still fuming that Spain torpedoed their own World Cup chances, after heavily backing them to win the whole thing).
Since installing Luis Enrique as their new manager, Spain have laid waste to all who’ve stood in their path. After defeating England at Wembley 2-1, they demolished Croatia 6-0, and strolled past Wales 4-1 last Thursday.
So, in their last three games, Spain have:
- Played 3
- Won 3
- Scored 12
- Conceded 2
We’ll get to England’s form in a moment, but – spoiler alert – it hasn’t been as good.
One player has stood head and shoulders above the rest in recent weeks. Not just for his country, but in club football too.
Paco Alcácer has been in dominant form. He scored two against Wales this week, and has bagged six in his past three games for Dortmund*.
Paco Alcácer has had eight shots on target for club & country since joining Borussia Dortmund:
He’s scored with all of them. pic.twitter.com/x3KF2ebOJ7
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 11, 2018
(*Alcacer is on loan at Dortmund from Barcelona, who somehow saw fit to insert a €23m buyout clause in the deal. Oops. Reports are suggesting that Dortmund are already saying danke schön and exercising the option. As you would, really.)
A more surprising recent goalscorer has been my beloved Saúl Ñíguez, whose jersey I actually own.
I grew increasingly angry at his exclusion as the World Cup went on, given his directness was exactly what Spain were lacking. Enrique brought him straight into the team, and he’s immediately scored two goals in three games.
It doesn’t look like the Nations League is coming home any time soon.
England have followed up their smoke-and-mirrors run to the World Cup semi-finals by… well, not doing much of anything, really. Including the World Cup, they’ve won only one of their last five games, and that was an actual friendly against Switzerland.
Since the World Cup, England have:
- Played 3
- Won 1, drawn 1, lost 1
- Scored 2
- Conceded 2
They’re not exactly in terrible form. Their form has simply been… boring.
None of England’s players have really stood out in recent games.
For betting purposes, I’m probably most interested in Marcus Rashford. He scored against both Spain and Switzerland, and could well have gotten two against Croatia on Friday.
Harry Kane is a stay-away for me. He hasn’t looked right for a long time now, and played another full 90 against Croatia (a game in which Southgate only made one sub, bizarrely).
With no forwards on the bench, and Sterling seemingly allergic to scoring in internationals, these two look England’s only bettable goal threats.
Spain vs England Betting Tips
Right. Time to get down to the nitty-gritty, and dish out some Nations League betting tips.
I’ve got three main bets that I really like, plus two flyers.
All odds come courtesy of my favourite bookie in the whole wide world, William Hill. Click below to get a lovely £30 back in free bets, when you stick a tenner down.
1) Spain to Win – 7/10
Anything can happen in any given game, but come on – all the signs point to una victoria española.
I’d normally prefer to cover my arse with a draw no bet, but Spain are a prohibitive 2/9 for that. Let’s just take them straight up.
2) Over 2.5 Goals – EVS
This is more a bet on Spain, than it is a bet on the matchup. All three of their games have gone over 2.5 goals since the World Cup, including the reverse tie at Wembley. Enrique has ushered in a higher-scoring, much more direct playing style for them, just as he did at Barcelona.
England could well score – almost certainly from a set piece – and it’s hard to see them preventing Spain from getting at least two goals.
However it happens, I like the Over 2.5 a lot.
3) Alcacer to Score Anytime – 11/8
See: all the reasons listed above.
Alcacer has been in ludicrous form, and this feels like his big arrival on the continental stage. He’s the best bet to score a goal here.
4) Rashford to Score Anytime – 3/1
This is the first of my flyers, and I’d only recommend putting a small stake on it.
Still, if England are to score, then Rashford looks to have the highest chance right now.
5) Saul to Score Anytime – 10/3
Again, he’s scored in two of Spain’s three post-World Cup games. He doesn’t typically score many, which is why this is another flyer, but there’s still a solid chance he could continue his mini-run.
It’s definitely worth a small stake, at better than 3/1.
How can you spice up a game which England are probably going to lose, in a competition that doesn’t mean much for either team?
By betting, of course!